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Summer Music Composition Institute/Camp

Summer Music Composition Institute

This unique program, now in its fourteenth year, was created specifically for high school students, including graduating seniors, who are interested in music composition and is structured to appeal to students of all levels of experience in music. See below for further details.

2016 group photo



  • Prerequisite: a reading knowledge of music notation.
  • Learn how to compose effective music in different styles.
  • Learn about the resources and opportunities that are available to young composers.
  • Learn about the opportunities for studying music at the collegiate level (as either a music major, or as a non-music major).

Subjects and activities

  • The elements of music:  melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, form, articulation, and dynamics
  • Faculty comments on students’ compositions
  • Performances of all students’ compositions (performed and recorded by professional musicians)
  • The opportunity to see and hear the music that other high school composers are creating
  • Career opportunities in music
  • Studying music at colleges, universities, and conservatories
  • Preparing your composition portfolio for the college audition process
  • Scholarship opportunities for music students
  • Film and television music
  • Songwriting
  • Jazz theory, harmony, arranging, and improvisation
  • The major twentieth-century and contemporary composers of concert music and their important music
  • Music notation (handwritten and computer-generated)
  • Music technology
  • Rehearsal strategies
  • Techniques of conducting
  • Organizations for composers
  • Composition competitions

Some comments from previous participants

“The summer music composition program at IWU was a life changing experience.  I had never been around so many people who were so much like me.  Dr. Pelusi made me feel so welcomed and taught me so much.  If I had the chance, I would do the summer camp all over again.”

Marissa Simmons
Adlai E. Stevenson High School
Lincolnshire, Illinois

“This program introduces students of all levels to a comprehensive guide to creating sound and improves musicianship on many levels.”

David Bloom, Indian Springs School
Birmingham, Alabama

"If you are interested in music composition, you won’t find a better camp to go to than this one.  Having your composition recorded by professional musicians is a wonderful experience.  Dr. Pelusi taught me everything I needed to know about composition in general as well as help me with my own composition along the way."

Sam Mullooly
Pius XI High School
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

More Participants' Comments

Lab 2


Check back for faculty announcements for the 2020 Composition Institute. 

Additional instruction will be provided by faculty members with particular expertise in the area of music technology.


  • Tuition:  $560 (includes all materials and access to recreational facilities for swimming)
  • Housing:  $170 (single room, includes linens)
  • Meals:  $165 (IWU meal plan includes lunch and dinner; breakfast can be purchased individually on campus)


Send an e-mail message to this address: (this will put you in direct contact with Dr. Pelusi), or call the IWU School of Music at (309) 556-3061.  After your message has been received, you will be contacted and sent a detailed program schedule and a registration form. 

Limited enrollment--Registration deadline: TBA for 2020